Cryptocurrency has been a game-changer for Africa, according to Chris Maurice, the CEO of Yellow Card Crypto Exchange. Maurice firmly believes that technology has played a vital role in liberating African nations from the inefficiencies of the local banking system. In fact, reports have shown that six out of the top 20 nations leading innovation in the world are from Africa. This highlights the immense potential that technology, and specifically cryptocurrencies, hold in solving real-time financial issues such as corruption and hyperinflation in the region.
During an interview, Maurice emphasized that crypto assets have proven to be instrumental in tackling real-world currency, inflation, and banking challenges faced by Africans. He highlighted that the use cases for crypto assets in Africa go far beyond what is commonly perceived in the West. These digital assets have provided Africans with cheaper and more secure ways to execute transactions, allowing them to escape the inefficiencies of the local banking system.
The rate of crypto adoption in Africa is significantly higher than in Europe or North America. African countries account for six out of the top 20 countries leading in cryptocurrency technology globally. This clearly shows that Africa is on its way to becoming a cryptocurrency continent. According to Maurice, this rapid increase in crypto adoption further cements Africa’s position in the technology sector.
Kevin Imani, the CEO of Sankore 2.0, a subsidiary of Near Protocol, stated that blockchain-supported remittance systems are a revolutionary technology that offers financial inclusion and self-custody to investors in underdeveloped countries plagued by corruption and high inflation rates. A recent study revealed that the Sub-Saharan region of Africa witnessed an alarming inflation rate of approximately 14.5% last year, the highest annual rate recorded since the 2008 recession.
Imani believes that digital assets have the potential to counter the effects of corruption and the weaknesses of national fiat currencies. This makes blockchain-backed peer-to-peer transactions an enticing option for investors in many African countries. He further emphasized that from major cities like Lagos, Accra, Nairobi, to Cape Town, Africa is gradually emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the technology sector. Numerous tech firms and initiatives are contributing to the continent’s rapid digital development and transformation.
Okoye Kevin, the CEO of GIDA, an educational forum based in Nigeria, also acknowledges the empowering potential of cryptocurrencies in Africa. He believes that the transparent nature of blockchain technology fosters financial trust and credibility, much needed in regions with opaque governments that demonstrate little concern for accountability to the people. Additionally, the opportunities presented by cryptocurrencies have sparked foreign partnerships in Africa. For instance, Yellow Card recently collaborated with Block, a U.S.-based digital payments platform, to build an international payment system in Africa.
In 2021, Africa experienced a massive surge in crypto adoption, witnessing an astonishing 2,500% increase. This unprecedented growth led to an explosion of venture capital funding the following year. Maurice specifically highlighted the significant adoption of digital assets among Nigerians, with approximately 47% of the country’s citizens holding or trading digital assets daily.
However, it is worth noting that despite the massive benefits of crypto, some African countries still consider operating crypto-related services illegal within their borders. This includes countries such as Libya, Gabon, Cameroon, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, and Guyana. Nevertheless, the positive impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology in Africa cannot be denied. They are creating financial inclusion and self-custody for investors, shielding them from the inefficiencies that plague the local financial sector. Moreover, the continent’s high and alarming rate of crypto adoption demonstrates its rapid progress in building global hubs for the crypto space and other emerging technologies.